Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season 2 Trailer Breakdown: Klingons, Kirk, Time Travel?!

The most upbeat Star Trek series returns — with even riskier and eyebrow-raising plotlines

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Trailer Breakdown
Photo: Paramount+

In terms of classic episode-of-the-week storytelling, the Star Trek series with the clearest future is Strange New Worlds. With season 2 hitting on June 15, and a third season already in production, the voyages of Captain Pike’s USS Enterprise aren’t going away anytime soon. And now, two months ahead of the premiere of season 2, the first Strange New Worlds trailer has dropped. Overall, it promises more of what critics and fans tended to love about season 1, with a few eyebrow-raising moments that do seem very different.

Here’s what’s old, what’s new, and what’s goofy in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds trailer:

First of all, the trailer is set to a remix of the 2003 Postal Service hit “Such Great Heights,” from their one and only album, Give Up. If Strange New Worlds was trying to target older millennials, mission accomplished. The ebullient indie pop of yesteryear fits perfectly with the ethos of Strange New Worlds.

This show is still kinda your parent’s Trek, but with a we’re-having-too-much-fun to care vibe. Some cranky purists might still be irritated by just how many wisecracks are happening on the TOS bridge, and in some ways, it’s probably easier to think of SNW as existing in an alternate The Original Series canon of Star Trek, even though it technically isn’t. (Contrast this with Picard season 3, which is very faithful to the exact continuity of The Next Generation, visually and tonally).

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Classic Klingons in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2

Still, SNW is as much of a Discovery spinoff as it is a TOS prequel, and on that front, it appears one aspect of DISCO is being permanently retired: Those 2017-2018 Klingons. In one scene in the new teaser trailer, we see Spock slamming some blood wine with a bunch of Klingons, who look decidedly closer to movie-era Klingons, or Klingons from The Next Generation.

Back in the day, Gene Roddenberry floated the idea that the The Motion Picture Klingons should replace our memories of the smooth-headed versions in TOS, and in a way, it sort of feels like Strange New Worlds season 2 is adopting this exact approach. Pre-TOS Spock is getting loaded with Klingons that look the way most Klingons look throughout Trek canon, and that’s fine. Will there be any explanation this season that attempts to reconcile these Klingons, with the “Metagenic Klingons” from Enterprise, or the scary Nosferatu-Klingons from Discovery? If Strange New Worlds goes the way it’s been going, the answer is probably not. The Gorn were massively retconned in season 1, but at the same time, lines from TOS don’t contradict the way the Gorn appeared in SNW.

Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2

This brings us to Paul Wesley’s take on James T. Kirk. After appearing in an alternate future in the SNW season 1 finale, this trailer makes it clear that Kirk is going to be in this season a lot, and he’s going to be hanging out with La’an Noonien Singh quite a bit. At one point, we get a weird comedy scene where Kirk and La’an look like they’re hanging out in a contemporary clothing store, and Kirk can’t figure out the revolving door because he’s “from space.”  Is this time travel? Is this a kind of Voyage Home homage? But more to the point, just how much will Kirk be hanging out with La’an this season, and what does that mean for timeline shenanigans? 

In Season 1, this version of Kirk was in command of the USS Farragut in an alternate timeline, and La’an was his first officer. La’an also left the Enterprise in season 1 on a personal mission, but this trailer suggests that she’ll be back at some point. (Along with Number One, who clearly didn’t stay arrested for too long?) So, will La’an and Kirk’s adventures be isolated from the rest of the crew? TOS clearly states that Kirk only met Captain Pike once, when Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain. So, if Kirk is in this season a lot, it feels like he can’t interact with Pike too much.

Now, it’s possible SNW will try to get us to forget this piece of the canon, but if so, that’s a little weird. Pike and Kirk’s entire connection only really exists in “The Menagerie,” in which it’s made very clear that Pike is Spock’s old buddy, not that Pike and Kirk hung out a lot too. Furthermore, if Kirk is hanging around a lot with La’an, it makes you wonder how that impacts some Khan stuff a few years later.

Strange New Worlds has proved itself very adept at doing all of these continuity tap-dances before, and ultimately, these small details probably won’t matter. Like season 1, Strange New Worlds season 2 has its phasers set to charming, which makes it hard to split hairs. But when we catch our breath, it will be interesting to see how much this season changes our view of the classic TOS characters. It’s a successful prequel, to be sure. But in season 2, it feels possible it could also feel more like a soft reboot of classic canon.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds hits Paramount+ on June 15.